Best Melbourne Coffee and Brunch
Melbourne is the capital of coffee. If you truly know coffee, you know this is true. Melbourne as a city, imports more beans than any other coffee obsessed city. So, where else to begin, but with cafes first on my list on where to satisfy your taste buds in Melbourne.
This started out as a glossary list of cafes I frequent. There are just so many cafes in Melbourne to choose from but this is my go-to list. Each of these deliver consistent and reliably good coffee with good eats for both locals and visitors alike. So if you want to swing by and just grab a takeaway, you know you are getting a good cup. Although, you’d be tempted to stop for brunch, even if you already had some.
Cafes in the North
This list covers Carlton, North Melbourne and surrounds
Seven Seeds Espresso
114 Berkeley St, Carlton
Used to be just know for phenomenal coffee with ok food, Seven Seeds has expanded their menu and really upped their food game. And yet still keeping their crown for excellent coffee. This place has evolved from a clinical espresso lab-esque cafe to a warm, lush, inviting spot to spend a late morning tucking into some really scrumptious eats. If you come to Melbourne, you have to do a coffee run at Seven Seeds, at the very least. One of the few coffee icons of Melbourne. Also see Traveller Coffee and Brother Baba Budan, two of their brand name cafes serving the same classic espressos.
Code Black Coffee Roasters
119 Howard Street, North Melbourne
One of the few cafes that roasts their own beans. There are two branches with one in North Melbourne and the other in Brunswick. Full brunch menu here with open plan concept.
Vertue Coffee Roasters
8 Raffa Place, Carlton
Another indie roastery with a full brunch cafe menu. High ceiling and tucked away, this will feel like a hole in the wall till you walk through the doors and you’re in a whole new world.
103-107 Errol St, North Melbourne
An old iconic building that was an Auction house back in the day converted into a cafe. This cafe has been around for almost as long as Fruits of Passion, as far as I can remember. Rustic doors with copper finishes, this place serves not just good coffee but a delectable brunch selection.
202 Bellair Street, Kensington
Fruits of Passion
188 Bellair Street, Kensington
One of the oldest cafe as far as I can remember. This cafe was my first brunch experience when I first moved to Melbourne at the start of 2000. Management of this cafe has changed a few times and the menu has also evolved considerably without losing it’s charm. I remember them for their oversized pancakes and these amazing raspberry and white chocolate muffins. Coffee isn’t the best here but this rustic little cafe is quintessentially my first few memories of Melbourne. Great place to chill and read a book if you are in the mood.
Also check out these cafes in the vicinity.
Twenty & Six Espresso
594 Queensberry St, North Melbourne
97 Errol St, North Melbourne
9 Errol St, North Melbourne VIC 3051, Australia
Cafes in the City
Axil Coffee Roasters
565 Bourke Street | 76 Flinders Lane | Lonsdale St | Southern Cross Lane | as well as Hawthorn, Chadstone and various locations
Awesome place with awesome food and simply great coffee. If you know the name David Makin, you’d know this is the award winning barista’s roastery and cafe. Axil Coffee Roasters opened their first cafe and roastery in Hawthorn and immediately became a hit with locals. There are now several branches peppered across Melbourne. They serve classic aussie brunches and are famous for their red velvet pancakes. Highly recommended. Do note that not all locations have a full menu. The only ones in the city with full menu is Bourke Street, with most other city stores mainly serving coffee and pastries. Hawthorn and Chadstone stores is also full menu service. Check website for details.
10 Katherine Place, Melbourne VIC 3000
One of the most iconic names in the Melbourne brunch scene serving French inspired eats. Formerly at Hardware Lane and there was a fire few years ago that burnt it down but they managed to rebuild the place to it's former glory. It has since moved to Katherine Place, just off Flinders Lane. Touted at the mini Marché of Melbourne, this place is enamored with European culture. They are famous for their baked eggs and fried brioche.
517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
A stone’s throw away from Hardware Societe, this brunch spot has a classy hotel high tea feel. Serving good coffee and exquisite food. You’d feel like you’ve walked into a European celebrity chef’s restaurant. The chef is German born and has worked in top hotels like Crown in Melbourne and the Hilton. Yet, the food here, though made with a lot of finesse, carries a deep sense of rustic farm to table philosophy with detailed attention to using only the freshest produce.
237 - 241 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000
This was a recent find, recommended by a good friend, on our recent trip to Melbourne. A french cafe serving french breakfast classics by a french dude. Very friendly cosy little spot. Did you know savoury crepes are called Galettes? Crepes refer to the sweet version. This is your textbook Melbournian-low-key famous place that people talk about but not-really-talked-about place that’s a best kept secret low hype but great place to eat at. Totally recommend hitting up this spot when you are out and about in the city. There is outdoor seating and perfect when the weather is warmer.
16/161 Collins Street, Melbourne (enter from Russell Street)
Finally, if you are in the city, this is a definite must if you are in Melbourne. Coffee, though not the main selling point here is actually very good. This place is known for their legendary croissants. It’s well known that every single Lune croissant takes 3 days to make. The croissants are so good it got the attention of the New York Times heralding Lune Crossanterie as possibly the best croissants in the world. Lune had their humble beginnings in Fitzroy opening to long queues every morning. Croissants used to sell out sometimes by 10am! They opened a brand new store in Melbourne city in 2018 and now every can have croissants! If you are in Fitzroy early enough, you can still head to their Fitzroy location to grab some. I hear they now have a 3 course degustation pastry tasting session where they serve you a flight of 3 croissants straight from the oven and tickets sell out several weeks ahead!
Also see this list for good coffee in the city, mostly just pastries for food, as these are mainly coffee spots.
Plantation Coffee, Patricia Coffee Brewers, Brother Baba Budan, Traveller Coffee, Market Lane Coffee, Sensory Lab and Axil Coffee Espresso Bar.
Cafes in the West
Maribyrnong, Brunswick West,
Lolo & Wren
484 Albion St, Brunswick West VIC 3055
Scotch eggs and seriously good hearty Croque Monsieur! Very family friendly too. Outdoor street side seating and indoors. Coffee is decent.
486 Albion St, Brunswick West
If you are up for something different than the regular brunch spot, here’s a Sri Lankan-Aussie infused little spot right next to Lolo and Wren. It is a great spot for lunch. They have staples like biryani and curries but very localised and has been a hit with locals since opening about a year ago. Coffee here is a tad better than Lolo & Wren, some say, but to me, it’s a close fight.
Jack B. Nimble
132 Mitchell St, Maribyrnong
This warm little cafe in the west brings some really inventive food fusing asian flavours with aussie classics. A bit out of the way to the west but if you’re driving and headed towards Werribee Zoo or Geelong, this cafe is a good stop over to get a good feed and ease into the morning. The cafe is dog and family friendly with a backyard. Coffee beans are from Axil Coffee Roasters, so you know it’s going to be solid. The owner is an old friend of mine who never fails to pull a mean shot every time. My favourite eats here is the Southern Fried Chicken Burger and the Roti Jack. The menu gets updated seasonally, so there’s always something new cooking here!
Cafes in the South
St Ali Coffee Roasters
12-18 Yarra Pl, South Melbourne
Paved with graffitti, these are iconic Melbournian laneways. St Ali is another coffee giant in the industry with many brunch cafes under it’s brand. Sensory Lab in the city is one of the brain child brands of St Ali. There is often a very upbeat vibe about this place, with good food and good coffee.
Dead Man Espresso
35 Market St, South Melbourne VIC 3205, Australia
Another cafe in the South Melbourne district with a large balcony sitting area overlooking the street.
Cafes in the East
This list covers Collingwood, Fitzroy, Richmond
172 Oxford St, Collingwood
A speciality coffee roaster with a presence in Portland, Oregon as well, this Collingwood cafe has been around for almost as long as some of the best iconic coffee names in Melbourne. These guys are very passionate about coffee. So you know you will get a really good cup here. Also one of my favourite places for coffee, right up there with Axil and Seven Seeds. Proud Mary is somewhat of a quiet achiever and widely regarded as one of the pioneers of third wave specialty coffee industry in Australia. They have in recent years set up the Collingwood Coffee College running courses and workshops catering to amateurs, hobbyists and keen professionals alike. They even conduct free courses in coffee knowledge.
Three Bags Full
60 Nicholson St, Abbotsford VIC 3067, Australia
Housed in a heritage building, Australia’s first steam powered factory, this cafe that’s been a hit for many years. Food is very inventive yet unpretentious. Baristas here are very warm and there is a very friendly family vibe here.
658 Church Street, Richmond
I remember this place for their soft shell crab burger. Doesn’t seem to be on their all day menu online, but could be a special from time to time. This place is always full during brunch hour, so make sure you get here early.
Final Thoughts on Coffee
If I have to choose my top 3 coffee roaster, they would be either from Seven Seeds, Axil or St Ali. To any Melbournian, these names are iconic pioneers and masters of the coffee industry in Australia. These guys are not just brands but artisan coffee roasters influencing a lot of the coffee culture we have today. There is a deep philosophy of excellence and handmade love in every bean and every cup. In fact a lot of cafes use beans from one of these 3 Melbourne brands, so if you see any of these brands, you know that cafe serves good coffee. I have yet to find a cafe that makes a bad cup using beans from these guys.
Few other coffee roasters worth mentioning are Proud Mary, Small Batch Roasters, Campos, Code Black, 5 Senses, Market Lane. The list can keep going… The level of obsession is just what makes Melbourne such a special place.
What is your favourite coffee roaster? Do you agree with my list? Who else do you think is worth highlighting? Tell me in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!